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Language choice, social institutions, and symbolic domination

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  19 February 2009

Monica Heller
Affiliation:
Centre de recherches en éducation franco-ontarienne, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, 252 Bloor Street West, Toronto, Ontario M5S 1V6, Canada

Abstract

The study of language choice and code-switching can illuminate the ways in which, through language, social institutions with ethnolinguistically diverse staff and clients exercise symbolic domination. Using the example of French-language minority education in Ontario (Canada), this article examines the ways in which ethnic and institutional relations of power overlap or crosscut, forming constraints which have paradoxical effects. In an analysis of two classrooms, it is shown how an ideology of institutional monolingualism is supported or undermined by program structure, curriculum content, and the social organization of turn-taking, and how individuals use language choices and code-switching to collaborate with or resist these arrangements. The effect of these processes is to contain paradoxes and to produce new relations of power within the school. (Symbolic domination, choice of language, code-switching, French/English language contact, social institutions, Canada)

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995

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